Congresswoman Debbie Dingell, leading auto executive Donna Inch to speak at Eastern Michigan University commencement ceremonies on April 21

Congresswoman Debbie Dingell, leading auto executive Donna Inch to speak at Eastern Michigan University commencement ceremonies on April 21

YPSILANTI – Michigan Congresswoman Debbie Dingell and Donna Inch, an Eastern Michigan University alumnus who enjoyed a highly successful career as a leading automotive executive, will serve as commencement speakers for the University’s two graduation ceremonies on Saturday, April 21.

Dingell will speak at the afternoon ceremony and Inch will speak at the morning commencement. Dingell will receive an honorary Doctor of Public Service degree, and Inch will receive an honorary Doctor of Commerce degree.

The ceremonies will be held at the EMU Convocation Center. The morning commencement will begin at 9:30 a.m., for graduates of the College of Health and Human Services, the College of Education and the College of Business. The afternoon ceremony, which starts at 1:30 p.m., is for graduates from the College of Arts and Sciences and the College of Technology.

U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell represents Ypsilanti and Ann Arbor areas

Debbie Dingell headshot
Debbie Dingell

Dingell represents the 12th District of Michigan in the U.S. House of Representatives, which includes the cities of Ypsilanti and Ann Arbor, as well as much of southern Wayne County. In Congress, she serves on the Energy and Commerce Committee and as a Senior Whip. Before being elected to Congress, she was the Chair of the Wayne State University (WSU) Board of Governors.

For more than 30 years Dingell served the General Motors (GM) Corporation, where she was President of the GM Foundation and a senior executive responsible for public affairs. In her commitment to job creation, Dingell led the effort to bring the 10,000 Small Businesses initiative, a $20 million partnership designed to help create jobs and economic growth, to southeast Michigan. She is a past chair of the Manufacturing Initiative at the American Automotive Policy Council.

An active civic and community leader, she is a recognized national advocate for women and children. She successfully fought to have women included in federally-funded health research, and advocated for greater awareness of issues directly related to women's health, including breast cancer and women's heart health.

Dingell has led a number of efforts and initiatives related to young people and education. She chaired the Michigan Infant Mortality Task Force, the Baby Your Baby public education campaign that reduced infant mortality rates in Michigan, and has served on the board of Michigan's Children, the only statewide independent voice working to ensure that public policies are made in the best interest of children from cradle to career.

She resides in Dearborn with her husband, retired Congressman John D. Dingell of Michigan. She holds both a bachelor’s degree in Foreign Services and a master’s degree in Liberal Studies from Georgetown University.

Two-time EMU graduate Donna Inch had distinguished business career

Donna Inch headshot
Donna Inch

Inch is a senior executive with over 35 years of experience as a financial management leader across major automotive divisions at Ford Motor Company. Prior to her recent retirement, she served as Chairman and CEO of Ford Land Development Corporation, a Ford Motor Company subsidiary. Her career reflects a demonstrated record of accomplishment as a global leader in strategic transformation, financial expert, corporate real estate, capital projects, and culture and organizational change.

As Chairman and CEO of Ford Land, she led Ford's global real estate and facilities management, with a portfolio of 275 million square feet. In this role, Inch was responsible for engineering and construction, dealership design, energy supply and efficiency, facility management, and workplace design.

Inch partnered with operations leaders to drive the real estate and facilities elements of key Ford objectives and led major capital investment for global actions, including plant expansion, R&D efficiency, and infrastructure. She also managed various profit centers, including a historic hotel and a 5-million-square-foot commercial portfolio.

She joined Ford in 1978 as an industrial relations analyst. She has held a series of finance and management positions in key organizations such as the Customer Service Division, Marketing and Sales, Product Development, Powertrain and other automotive operations.

Inch is presently serving as a consultant and member of the Strategic Advisory Committee for Arcadis US, Inc. - global design/consultancy for natural and built assets.

In terms of civic involvement, Inch served on the Executive Board and as Chairman of the Detroit Metro Convention and Visitors Bureau - a critical organization in the revitalization of Detroit.

She has also served on several nonprofit boards, including; HAVEN, prevention and shelter for sexual assault and domestic violence; the historic Henry Ford Estate, restoring a national treasure; the historic Dearborn Country Club, where she was the first female President of the 90-year old family club; and University Advisory boards - Eastern Michigan University College of Business and University of Michigan, Dearborn.

She is a champion of diversity -- she founded Ford's first employee resource group (Women in Finance in 1993) and was honored with Ford's Global Diversity and Inclusion award.

Inch earned BBA and MBA degrees in finance from Eastern 1978 and 1984 respectively. She and her husband, Howard, have two grown children and live in Dearborn.

About Eastern Michigan University

Founded in 1849, Eastern is the second oldest university in Michigan. It currently serves 22,000 students pursuing undergraduate, graduate, specialist, doctoral and certificate degrees in the arts, sciences and professions. In all, more than 300 majors, minors and concentrations are delivered through the University's Colleges of Arts and Sciences; Business; Education; Health and Human Services; Technology, and its graduate school. EMU is regularly recognized by national publications for its excellence, diversity, and commitment to applied education. For more information about Eastern Michigan University, visit the University's website.

April 11, 2018

Written by:
Geoff Larcom

Media Contact:
Geoff Larcom